Skip to comments.A Helping of Episcopal Fudge…
Posted on 05/14/2006 6:11:31 PM PDT by sionnsar
There is a term often used in the Episcopal Church called Episcopal fudge. It is when the ECUSA blurs matters so as to make things appear to be not as they actually are. Perhaps this all began with the mixing of Catholic and Protestant sensibilities in the English Reformation and the Elizabehten Settlement. Inn the past the fudging allowed one to be as Catholic or Protestant as one liked by assuming a different outlook on the liturgical acts. This has now been extended to include those who have no real allegiance to the historic witness of the Church on matters of faith and morals.
Often the fudge is manifested by centering on technical issues of voting procedures rather than the theological and spiritual concerns that should be any churchs major focus. The argument would be something along the lines of the vote was fair and there was no improper procedure and the voters are charged with making such decisions so as to avoid the question of whether the voters are bound by either the Holy Scriptures or two thousand years of Christian tradition. Another common ploy is to claim a decision was prayerfully made. Of course, no mention is given as to what god was prayed to or whether the deity in question agreed with the one mentioned in Holy Writ. The sincerity of the participants is supposed to trump any concerns with such quaint matters as heresy and immorality. There is also a common appeal to the independance of the Episcopal Church as a self-governing entity. This assumes the legal standing of the ECUSA as a corporate entity is of greater importance than its relationship to Jesus Christ and its standing as part of His one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
The Diocese of Southeast Florida (ECUSA) has given us a large helping of fudge with its recent statement on General Convention 2006. In a document titled Myths and Facts of General Convention, the evasive tactics are used so blatantly that it almost takes one breath away. Let us now examine in some detail how fudge is done.
Fact: General Convention Deputies are deputies not delegates. They represent a diocese, but are deputized to make educated voting decisions not based on a constituency in their diocese, but based on their prayerful consideration of each question and issue and the dictates of their conscience.
Without examining the actual bylaws that apply, let us concede the statement above is an accurate reflection of their content. What does this prove? I wholeheartedly agree that the delegates are not to resort to popularity contests and should prayerfully consider each question. However, is it not logical to assume this is the Triune God to whom we should direct out prayers and that what He spoke in Holy Scripture should be the focus of our mediations? Is it not to be expected that clear commands that God has given are to take precedent over the politically correct opinions of the culture? There is no basis for assuming the deputies have any authority to overrule Holy Writ in favor of the demands of the latest trendy social activism.
Fact: The Episcopal Church has complied with more of the recommendations of the Windsor Report than any other branch of the communion.
There were many recommendations made in the Windsor Report. However, only a few were of vital importance and dealt with threats to the unity of the Anglican Communion. The ECUSAs actions in ordaining an bishop in a same-sex relationship was the cause of the furor. The fact that they may have (in their interpretation) complied with some minor points while ignoring the elephant in the living room is of little consequence. The ECUSA has done nothing to indicate they have any intention of repenting of the actions that brought us to this crisis nor is their any indication the rest of the Communion is buying their excuses.
Fact: The Primates are one instrument of unity in the Anglican Communion. While they have some moral authority, they have no formal legislative or executive authority or power over any part of the communion beyond their own individual provinces. The other instruments of unity are The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council. None of these entities has formal authority or power over the provinces. Each province is fully autonomous and fully self-governing.
Neither the primates nor anyone else has ever claimed such authority over the ECUSA. However, as instruments of unity with other Churches in the Anglican Communion they have a right and a duty to break with any member that moves away from essential Christian teaching on faith and morals. If the ECUSA places themselves outside Gods one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, there is every expectation that other Anglican bodies will break communion with them. The ECUSA may have a right before the state to change their rules but it has no right before God to change the faith once delivered to the saints.
Fact: The Archbishop of Canterbury, not the primates, requested the Windsor Report.
Why is this an issue? Does it matter if it were all the primates or the Archbishop of Canterbury who commissioned the report? The other primates agreed with it so it is still held by them as an important guideline for the ECUSA to follow to remain in communion with them.
Fact: There is no formal provision for any of the instruments of unity to exclude member churches from their body. The Episcopal Church and the Church of Canada were asked to voluntarily withdraw from some deliberative bodies of the Communion to allow time and space for healing. The Archbishop of Canterbury determines who is invited to the Lambeth Conference which takes place every ten years. Only the Archbishop of Canterbury can declare a church out of communion with the Anglican Communion.
Here we have technicalities that ignore realities. Each member body can decide with whom it is in communion and can demand that Canterbury exclude the ECUSA or risk their leaving to form a new Communion. It is the churches in the Global South that are growing exponentially and those in the West that are dying. There was already rumors that there were moves to start a new Anglican body with Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola at the helm if the ECUSA refuses to repent and Canterbury refuses to act. The main question is not whether the ECUSA will be kicked out of the Anglican Communion but whether the vast majority of Anglicans in the Anglican Communion will leave to start their own Communion.
Fact: While some within the Anglican Communion argue that decisions made by General Convention might result in the Episcopal Church removing itself from the Anglican Communion, only an overt declaration to that effect by both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops or a clear statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury so stating could have that result.
Again we see the appeal to technical points as if the only concern were the proper execution of Roberts Rules of Order. The Archbishop of Canterbury would be left with the option of either excluding the ECUSA or having all the vital Churches in the Anglican Communion leave.
Fact: General Convention 2006 cannot undo General Convention 2003s approval of the election of V. Gene Robinson to the episcopacy. Gene Robinson was duly elected by the Diocese of New Hampshire, his election duly certified by General Convention and he was consecrated by more than three bishops of the Episcopal Church who are themselves in good standing and in the apostolic line.
If the ECUSA were intent on repenting of their errors, they could simply declare that the only permissable lifestyles for a bishop of the church is either marraige between one man and one woman and chastity in the unmarried state and that any other relationship is reason enough for removal from office and then enforce it. Individual bishops could also declare themselves out of communion with Robinson and the Dicese of New Hampshire until such a time as either he repents or is removed from office. Of course, this will never happen because the leadership of the ECUSA have long ago turned their backs on Holy Scripture and the Church Catholic.
Fact: Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, New Zealand (to name four others), also support gays and lesbians as full participants of the church. (NOTE: Caution is required when characterizing the position of Great Britain. While a person who identifies him or herself as gay or lesbian can exercise priestly ministry, they must confirm that they are living in celibacy. The Church of England officially does not permit those living openly gay lifestyles to exercise their ministry. Moreover, Jeffrey John, who had affirmed that he was living a celibate life, and whose name had been forwarded to be bishop of Reading, withdrew his name under pressure from the Archbishop of Canterbury. It should also be noted that English civil law now recognizes same sex unions.)
So the appeal is that other churches are almost as bad as us? First, only the ECUSA has raised this above the diocesan level by endorsing an openly homosexual bishop. Second, all the Churches mentioned are dead or dying. The Church of South Africa are about the only Anglican Church in Africa that are not growing by leaps and bounds.
Fact: There are provinces in the Global South that do not show disdain to The Episcopal Church.
Depends on what you mean by disdain? There are those provinces in the Global South that wish to get rid of the ECUSA immediately and those who wish to give them a further chance of repentence. Then there are a few in the Americas that are technically Global South but are little more than outposts of the ECUSA. These churches are relatively small and are not indicative of the Global South as a whole. Of all the members of the Anglican Communion that are growing, the general consensus is the ECUSA must shape up or ship out.
Fact: To be part of the Anglican Communion a church must be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Again an attempt to sidestep reality by claiming the obvious. By implying there is no core moral doctrine there is an avoidance of the issue that a large portion of the Anglican Communion is ready to leave if the ECUSA does not repent and Archbishop of Canterbury then chooses not to break communion with the ECUSA.
Fact: The Episcopal Church is respectful, prayerful, compassionate and responsible on matters of human sexuality.
Here you see an appeal to subjective standards. I will not comment on their prayerfulness but do question whether they were willing to submit their prayers to the God who speaks through the Holy Scriptures. I have no comment as to their compassion but wonder if their compassion extends to calling the faithful to repent of their sins and to submit to the authority of Gods word. I suppose they are responsible by the worlds standards but I question they see themselves as responsible to Holy Writ, the Christian witness of two thousand years, and the other churches in the Anglican Communion.
Fact: The moral values of The Episcopal Church are defined by the 5 Baptismal Vows. There is nothing lax about them. The argument about sexuality represents a clash of competing claims of morality and justice and how the Baptismal Vows ought to be applied.
The baptismal vows from the Book of Common Prayer are as follows:
The definitions of the terms in the vows are to come from Holy Scripture. Here you see the assertion of the ECUSA that the Church is not bound by Gods word and is free to define morality as it pleases. By declaring the issue to be how the vows ought to be applies there is a declaration that the Scriptural norm has been discarded and it becomes semantics and not obedience that is the overriding concern. Once you have removed any claim to the ECUSA that it is bound by Scripture and the witness of the faith, it ceases to be part of Gods one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and has decided to declare it is answerable only to the whims of its own desires. It has become an unchurch.
The ECUSA and all who are in it now are faced with the same choice that Joshua posed to the Israelites:
Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve
May all the faithful assert along with Joshua,
but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
I had another thought. My bad.
Yeah, I thought that too.
That's at least 3 of us. Probably more.
The term has been used in this sense so long in the Anglican blogworld I'd forgotten the possible other interpretations...
Yeah, me too. Embarassing, isn't it?
Especially after the graphic description of "rimming", etc, at the NH ceremony.
Actually, I think the sort of reaction that is be described here is commonly known as a "gimme".
hahah, me too, another thot.
Isn't a more accurate description of this phenomenon called "the smoke of satan"?
Men of God don't talk like lawyers.
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